The Importance of Rotating Proxies With Python

“Money makes the world go around,” says the words to the song in Cabaret. Although that may still be true, what really makes the world turn now is data. Data is ever-growing, and according to some statistics, 90% of all data in existence today was created in the past two years. As a company, you can’t afford to ignore patterns in data that may help your business grow. The same technology that makes data seem overwhelming gives you the tools to analyze it via the world of web scraping.

If you’re a company looking to scrape data from the web in a reliable fashion, you need the right coding language and hardware to support those efforts. After all, there’s a lot of bad or unhelpful data in the world. It’s one thing to source data, but it has to be collected and analyzed with acute sensitivity. Being hampered in your efforts to collect the right data could result in conclusions that are skewed or erroneous.

So how to dive into the world of data and emerge with pearls? In this article, we’ll define our terms and give you all the information you need on the importance of web scraping with Python. We’ll also tell you why proxies — and rotating a variety of proxies — are necessary to get reliable and high-quality data that can help your business grow.

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Web Scraping

learn about web scraping

Web scraping is the process of gathering vast amounts of data from sites all over the web. The internet is a rich source of data uploaded by global users every second of the day. There are reams of data just sitting there in chatrooms, user forms, and comment sections.

What’s the benefit of this data? It’s voluminous and candid. In this, it is distinct from information provided by users via survey forms or other intentionally gathered methods.

Think of web scraping as a deep-sea fishing expedition: when you trawl, you pick up all kinds of useful stuff, which can be sifted through. But you can also web scrape in a way more akin to a harpooning mission — with a clear goal.

As this Forbes article points out, web scraping gathers large amounts of data that provides for a revolution in possibilities and ways to make your brand preeminent.

Some of the benefits of web scraping include:

  • Seeing patterns in large data sets, including market trends and demographic changes.
  • Keeping a close eye on rapid, to-the-minute changes in global conditions and news stories that might affect your business.
  • Generating quality leads based on web searches and customer profiles that are genuine, based on publicly-available data (as opposed to archetypal “ideal customer profiles”).
  • Keeping an eye on competitors’ prices and reviews to ensure you are keeping up with the competition.
  • Finding answers to questions that may have perplexed you about your target audience and their behavior, including “sentiment analysis” (i.e. whether people feel positively or negatively toward your brand, which you can accomplish via language analysis).
  • Improving your social media presence by, for example, identifying accounts that will follow you back or amplify your presence by connecting you with even more followers who are likely to find your brand appealing

Web scraping done by bots takes a fraction of the time it would take you to do it manually. Typically, it involves two steps: a program that browses the internet and indexes data (a “web crawler”), which puts this data into some kind of organized spreadsheet for analysis (the “scraper”).

You could certainly go through the web yourself, absorb relevant information from a page, and copy and paste it (either completely by hand or with the aid of some self-written codes). But using bots allows you to scale up in a way that gives you access to more quality data, allows you to use your time and resources to analyze that data, and puts its findings to use.

You can program bots to look for specific things as they crawl. But you can also extract publicly-available data, then look to find patterns within it — patterns that can tell you about consumer behavior, such as likes and dislikes, or larger patterns in the economy.

For example, if you’re looking for data on where to open a new branch for your brick-and-mortar chain, you could analyze data on home prices, income, public transport, and more. These factors could tell you where a new store would be best situated to capitalize on economic growth within a community. Tech companies like Netflix are well-known for using data to determine which of their shows are resonating with audiences (including the exact moments that viewers tune out).

You can (and should) still use your ingenuity to ask the right questions of data to get fruitful answers. But when gathering enough data to draw meaningful conclusions, it’s best done with bots. The only data that can really help is “big data,” which Investopedia defines as “the large, diverse sets of information that grow at ever-increasing rates.” This data encompasses:

  • The volume of information being created and gathered
  • The velocity at which it is created, and
  • The variety or scope of its data points

Automation and the power of web scraping have put a collection of such data within reach for even smaller concerns, using bots to scour the web for publicly-available data.

The only roadblock to the collection of this data is site security systems, which are programmed to block bots from performing this task. So intelligent strategies and ingenuity are necessary to overcome these digital obstacles.

Fortunately, Rayobyte is a practiced hand at solving your web scraping problems in ways that are efficient, affordable, and ethical. Get to know a little about the technology that can help you achieve your data goals.

Proxies and Why You Need Them

proxy why you need

Think of proxies as middlemen. Proxies are intermediaries that pass requests between a device and a network. You send your request from your computer, which has an IP (internet protocol) address that’s to some degree identifiable. Note that IP addresses are not connected to your device, but rather they are tied to the access point via which you connect to the internet. So if you perform the same web search from a cafe as at your home, using the same laptop, your target site will receive the request from a different IP address.

Your IP address is only mostly localized. For example, if you have roommates, you share an IP address. Thus, the New York Times knows that someone in your household is playing Wordle (to cite a familiar activity) but maybe not that it’s you. Similarly, streaming services know that your household is watching its programming.

Websites are programmed to expect a certain pattern of human activity. Human patterns online are predictable in duration and in terms of the requests made. So a website’s security system may ultimately block an IP address if it’s making what it sees as an unreasonable number of requests for information, and in a constant, hammering fashion. Once a security system thinks you are a bot (and suspects you are mining or scraping its data), it could either suspend your activity for a certain amount of time or block you completely. It may also trick you by using certain defense mechanisms to give you faulty data or send you to an empty page.

The answer to this very real problem for web scraping lies in using proxies through which you can make data requests without raising suspicions of a site’s security software. This way, requests aren’t coming from the same source (an automatic red flag) or from bots, which can happen when there are suspiciously large and constant requests for information. So your request for information goes to the proxy, which then sends it on to the target site, adding a filter and an element of randomness.

Well-used proxies generate patterns of requests that could plausibly mimic scads of requests coming from all over the world unpredictably. While proxies are largely used in the pursuit of collecting data, their ability to anonymize your requests for information can also be helpful for other applications, such as:

  • Coordination of social media management. Web scraping using proxies lets you collect data about your customers from various social media accounts, where they are at their most candid and outspoken. This can guide your product development and the direction of your social media accounts. Using bots and social media proxies also allows you to create multiple accounts and followers on various platforms, creating momentum and greater success for your brand.
  • Streaming. Using proxies allows you to stream video content securely and fluidly to ensure no interruption of service since you’re not beholden to one IP address, which could suffer an outage. Proxies essentially spread the risk.
  • Cybersecurity. Proxies successfully protect your identity, making you harder to hack and track online. Using proxies can help to protect you against phishing and malware schemes, as well.
  • Geolocation concerns. You can use proxies to access material that’s blocked to you from your location; conversely, if you’re using a proxy server or proxy IP address, you become that much harder to track.
  • Privacy enhancement. Similarly, proxies make it harder for you to be tracked as you surf the internet. This can allow you to foil all those annoying targeted ads. It can also help you check out rivals’ websites and campaigns to make sure they’re not maintaining a critical edge over you.
  • SEO tools. By telling you which are the most popular search terms relating to your product or competitors, proxies can arm you with more actionable knowledge.

Proxies come in two major varieties: residential proxies and data center proxies.

Residential Proxies

learn about residential proxy

Residential proxies, as their name implies, are linked to domestic addresses whose owners allow web scraping companies to use their IP addresses. Most of us have monthly data we don’t use, and all of us have to sleep at some point. Theoretically, scrupulous web proxy companies could pay residential users for the privilege of accessing their IP addresses as proxies, thereby disguising the source of requests to a website.

The downside of residential proxies is they may not have a lot of bandwidth for high-volume requests. Thus, they may be very slow and unreliable if you are looking for to-the-microsecond accurate data. Their connectivity may not be 100% either, and that could mean losing out on up-to-the-second data if that’s what you need.

The good news is they may not arouse the suspicion of a website’s security system since they are residential addresses, consequently, fielding genuine requests for information.

Yet, their biggest issue is that they’re likely to be illicit in practice with unscrupulous data scrapers simply piggybacking on domestic IP addresses without permission.

And so to avoid not only the illegality but also the unreliability of many residential proxies, companies turn to proxies on a more industrial scale, aka the world of data center proxies. (There are also mobile proxies, linked to mobile devices, but these may present some of the same issues as residential proxies).

Are There Ethical Issues With Residential Proxies?

There may be if they are unethically sourced. A company like Rayobyte takes pains to make sure their residential proxies are completely legal and ethical, so you don’t have to worry.

The critical word when it comes to the residential proxy system used by Rayobyte is consent. Users of Rayobyte’s Software Development Kit (SDK) can consent to allow Rayobyte to use their device as a proxy when idle.

Rayobyte makes sure that this term is not buried somewhere in the fine print, but mentioned up front — and not just as a one-off. Rayobyte checks in every month to remind its customers that their device is being used as a proxy and that they may opt-out if they’re no longer interested.

Additionally, Rayobyte ensures that:

  • Proxy owners have full control over the domains their device is being used for
  • All consenting users are paid for the use of their device’s IP address.

This policy is an honest and straightforward one. At the same time, Rayobyte ensures that its users who are scraping data are doing so for legitimate reasons. The internet can be a dangerous place, and Rayobyte insists on policies that uphold its values of honesty, transparency, and ethics. Rayobyte respects the privacy of its proxy providers and does not collect information from them, only their IP addresses. (They are, after all, a company that sells technology that aids privacy, and that’s a value they apply at every stage of their business structure).

When customers aren’t paid (via Cash Raven), Rayobyte resells proxies from partners who share their values, meaning that they pay their end users money in exchange for bandwidth. The steps to having your residential IP used as a proxy by Rayobyte are simple and transparent, and Rayobyte ensures to vet anyone who wants to use those proxies in their work.

Rayobyte doesn’t just take on faith that businesses are acting ethically; rather, they monitor your usage with automated technology to make sure you are avoiding risky behavior and not engaging in DDoS attacks or anything similarly unethical.

So if your purposes are legitimate and business-related, you’re willing to provide information to support that claim, and you’re committed to only using ethically-sourced residential Python proxies for web scraping, get in touch with Rayobyte today.

Datacenter Proxies

learn about datacenter proxy

Datacenter proxies may provide greater proxy computing firepower than residential ones, as they are explicitly set up to multiply proxies. Think of them like call centers but for Python proxy requests. They are certainly safer than public proxies (which are vulnerable to hackers) and may be faster than residential proxies since they have more bandwidth.

If well-designed, they are unlikely to be blocked by websites, particularly since a data center proxy server can hold many IP addresses. However, there is a strong chance that poorly-coordinated datacenter proxy queries could result in blocking. Yet, even then, a data center proxy server will simply switch to a different IP address. With data centers, you get the advantage of volume in your approach. Since there’s always going to be a certain number of requests that get blocked, it makes sense to involve as many requests and IP addresses as possible.

However, some websites are exquisitely attuned to requests from data centers and may result in blocking such requests from a subnet they identify as a data center bot. So, if you’re a gamer looking for speed, a data center proxy may be a good solution for you.

Datacenter proxies are also cheaper — the equivalent of computer farms — while residential proxies require some finesse and effort to (legally) acquire. As mentioned above, Rayobyte only uses residential proxies that are ethically purchased.

Ultimately, relying on only one kind of proxy, particularly data center proxies, can leave you open to your approach not working.

Rayobyte provides an excellent proxy service, combining the best features of several types of proxy to avoid IP blocks and ensure a smooth data-gathering process, which keeps you ahead of your competitors.

To get around the problem of blocked data center proxies, Rayobyte offers:

  • Data center proxies in over 27 countries
  • 9 autonomous system numbers (ASNs) and 20,000 unique C-class subnets
  • Over 300,000 IP addresses and 25-petabyte capability that lets us handle billions of scrapes per month.

Those numbers and geographic dispersal drastically reduce the likelihood that you’ll be blocked.

But you if are blocked or delayed by a website’s security system, you won’t waste time waiting for remedial action to be taken. As Albert Einstein is credited with saying, “the definition of insanity is constantly doing the same thing and expecting different results.” So is the same with proxies: if you keep using the same dedicated proxies, your requests eventually become predictable and easily flagged.

But where there’s a will, there’s a way. The key lies in nimble, fast-acting, rotating proxies.

What are Rotating Proxies And How Do They Work?

working style of rotating proxy

Proxies can be broken down into two broad categories:

  • Dedicated and Semi-Dedicated Proxies
  • Rotating Proxies

Here’s a brief primer on how these differ.

1. Dedicated and Semi-Dedicated

Dedicated proxies are the province of one exclusive user whereas semi-dedicated proxies (though far from attracting the traffic of public proxies) are shared between up to three users at a time.

Dedicated proxies are faster than semi-dedicated ones since you’re not splitting your bandwidth with other users. Dedicated proxies are also more secure and may give you more peace of mind since you don’t have to share them with people who could be engaging in illicit activity, possibly getting your IP address banned by websites’ security systems. But they don’t overcome the issue that they may prove predictable to websites’ security systems, particularly if you need to access large amounts of information.

2. Rotating

Rotating alternate proxies means assigning a different dedicated IP address for every connection. This translates to every new request your proxies make coming from a new address, which in turn means that there is very little chance of raising the hackles of any security system.

Rotating proxies are continuously cycling through IP addresses, avoiding the appearance of creating any obvious bot-like patterns.

These allow you to create massive numbers of IP addresses, allowing you to cast an expansive net as you scrape data from websites. For this reason, rotating proxies are reckoned by many to be the best proxies, giving you the greatest degree of anonymity and the least chance of being banned.

Rotating proxies can be more expensive than semi-dedicated proxies, but they are really the Cadillac of proxies. And if you are looking to buy proxies, remember that you’re investing in the health of your business. So, it is worth it when you’re serious about web scraping. (Unlike buying a Cadillac, it’s not really about luxury here and more about finding a tactic that is efficient and reliable).

Rotating proxies are among the fastest proxies for data collection. If one is blocked, they switch very quickly in an automated fashion, making the action of data gathering a seamless process.

Rotating proxies can be used by both residential and data center IP addresses. The point is the variety inherent in rotation so that requests come from a vast network of geographic locations. Thus, it’s never obvious to a website’s security system that requests are being made by the same person.

However, rotating residential proxies are considered superior since they give the appearance of coming from real internet users. Yet, a savvy security system could deduce that all the requests are coming from data center bots.

Residential rotating proxies can also give you the advantage of gathering data unique to certain geographic locations — for example, if you want to see how a site appears to a user in Washington, DC, or if your brand is well-liked in Paris, Texas. If you’re a fashion business you may want to see what similar items to yours are retailing for around the world.

They can also allow you access to material that may be blocked in your location.

And as mentioned, some sites have banned all data center proxies — in which case rotating residential proxies are compulsory, not just a nice idea.

Where Does Python Fit In?

how useful of python

Python is the world’s most popular computer programming language. It’s one of the main building blocks of the internet, prioritizing readable object-oriented code. Python is relatively easy to learn and use, and since nothing succeeds like success, it already has a lot of quality libraries you can implement. So if you use Python, you can rely on others’ experience and don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

Python is open source, which means that it’s free to use, and also uses the brainpower of dedicated thinkers from around the world to keep it relatively bug-free and operating smoothly.

For these reasons, it’s logical that Python is an excellent choice for web and app development. Consider some alternative popular coding languages and their limitations:

  • C# is one rival language, developed by Microsoft, but it’s far less intuitive than Python. It’s expensive to implement, and it’s platform-dependent, only compatible with Microsoft’s .NET. If you’re looking to gather as much data as possible, it doesn’t make sense to limit your horizons since you will want to feast on the entire internet.
  • Java is another popular coding language, but it’s a very involved and complicated language to learn. Also, unlike Python, Java is not open-source, making it a potentially expensive proposition to use on a large-scale project.

You can write a program to scrape data from the web using Python, but you will be limited by your own personal bandwidth and time — it would be more like a hobby or to check out one or two sites.

If you really want to scrape data big enough to make it meaningful, you need to use proxies — ideally rotating proxies — and a code that lets you search multiple URLs (even thousands of URLs) at once. Being able to rotate proxies with Python, in the opinion of Rayobyte, is the most effective and efficient way to scrape data and get the information you need. The two main reasons for this are that:

  • Python is an intuitive coding language to use, that gets the job done with minimal fuss
  • Many websites are built using Python, making it that much easier to use to access them

As mentioned above, Python comes with readymade scripts and libraries you can use to enact whatever targeted searches you like. If you’re looking for social media mentions of your product (including whether they are positive or negative in tone) or special deals being offered by a competitor, Python allows you to do that; you can use a preexisting Python script or perhaps just mildly tweak and customize one on your own. Having the request come from rotating proxies using Python means efficient access to data that also won’t suffer interruptions or being blocked.

Can there be issues with using Python? Of course. And this article points out some of them. But these common issues can be resolved somewhat easily with clever programming to avoid traps like honeypots (which are traps for bots that direct them to blank pages, rather than information-rich ones) and header inspections, in the case of which using rotating proxies helps to avoid trigger red flags that signal you are a bot making inquiries.

In the words of Tiobe CEO Paul Jansen, describing what people want from a coding language, “we need something simple that can be handled by non-software engineers, something easy to learn with fast edit cycles and smooth deployment. Python meets all these needs.”

Python is also widely used in areas like machine learning, so it’s not just a learner’s code, but a robust and adaptable programming language with wide applications — including for the world of data scraping.

The power of Python combined with the security of rotating proxies ultimately provides you with the best bet for a successful data collection campaign, so many experts recommend that you rotate proxies using Python to get the best results for your business.

How to Monitor Python Web Scraping

Once you’ve begun your web scraping campaign, you want to make sure it’s proceeding on track. Fortunately, Python gives you the tools to do so. Specifically, you can track the success of your Python web scraping by using Proxy Pilot, the Proxy Management Tool from Rayobyte. This suite of tools provides insight into the data you’re collecting, including aspects of your campaign like:

  • Success and Failure Rates. How are your requests successfully evading the efforts of security systems to block them?
  • Failure Reasons. Where are your problems coming from, and why are some sites banning your bots?
  • Response Times of Requests. How quickly are your requests being resolved by the Rayobyte system, so that your campaign is proceeding as efficiently as possible?
  • Bandwidth Consumed. How much bandwidth have you consumed when using Rayobyte’s proxies? Are you proceeding with your set budget?
  • Domain Lists. What’s the full list of domains your requests are connecting to? Audit them to make sure you’re getting the data that you want. For example, if you’re a travel business, you want to see all your competitors’ prices, not just a select few.

Knowledge is power, so if you buy Rayobyte rotating proxies you can also get tools to monitor the precise health of your web scraping program. Fortunately, Rayobyte’s tools like Proxy Pilot don’t just tell you what’s wrong, they provide fixes, such as:

  • Handling Retries. Being blocked is inevitable, but what matters is being able to try again so you can evade the security functions trying to block you. Rayobyte’s system detects any bans or blocks your proxy encounters and automatically retries on your behalf, while of course, the rotating proxy system itself mitigates the chances of being blocked fatally. (Even for bots, “if at first, you don’t succeed, try try again” is good advice).
  • Handles Cooldown Logic. Websites read bot behavior like making too many requests in too short a period of time. Proxy Pilot makes sure to achieve appropriate cooldowns between reusing each IP.
  • Detecting Bans. It can be critical to know the difference between being banned or merely needing to retry a request to a site. Rayobyte uses a sophisticated mix of techniques to determine what’s what and give you your best shot at breaking through. If a proxy IP address is banned, it can intelligently retire it so you can switch to one that works. And if it just needs a code fix or to retry, it can do that too.
  • Supporting Geo-Targeting. Sometimes, data analysis involves comparing different locations — you may need to compare your sales in Italy vs in the US. Proxy Pilot can guide your traffic all around the world with no fuss at all. So if you want to send your web scraping tools to diverse countries to bring back their findings, that’s easy.

In short, Python rotating proxies use the most sophisticated techniques to make your life a lot easier.

Regardless of the size of your business, you can benefit from techniques even the biggest corporations use to improve their data collection to make more nimble decisions, improve your social media, and generally work smarter. Let rotating proxies and Python take the stress out of your data collection process.

Other Advantages of Web Scraping with Python

check other benefits of python

Python isn’t just relatively easy to code with, it presents distinct advantages to use as a web scraping tool. Among them:

  • Python is fast and free from complicated semi-colons or curlicues,
  • Python is efficient, with an intuitive nature to its writing that makes it simpler to enact; in the words of the Python site, “often, programmers fall in love with Python because of the increased productivity it provides. Since there is no compilation step, the edit-test-debug cycle is incredibly fast”. This functionality, which corrects for bugging, makes Python supremely reliable as well as productive.
  • Python offers libraries you can easily put to work for your needs, with clear goals you can then tailor to your own aims,
  • Python works extremely well with common browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. That means you can use those browsers’ development tools to analyze HTML and return the data you need.

Web scraping itself is an ever-evolving art partly because every website has its own unique quirks thanks to the human coders behind it. This is also true since the web itself changes every nanosecond. Scraping from dynamic websites will differ from scraping static websites, not to mention scraping data from hidden websites, and so on. Thus, your request code will be different depending on the specific technical challenges you face.

Python allows for rapid changes and fixes to be made so that you can keep up with the dynamic world of digital data.

Between Python’s reliability, efficiency, speed, ubiquity, and adaptability, it gives you every tool you need to gather the freshest data. So it’s no wonder it continues to gain in popularity.

The last thing you want while employing all this skill and strategy to scrape the web is for your proxies to let you down. Web scraping is hard enough, so make sure you can rely on your proxies so that you’re not banned from the very sites you’re trying to access.

If you want your mantra summed up in three words: rotate proxies Python.

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Residential Rotating Python Proxies: The Best Solution

conclusion on rotate proxies python

Think back to the opening of The Matrix, with those lines of code running down the screen. It remains an excellent representation of the internet — all those 1’s and 0’s running through hyperspace as billions of humans around the world register their likes and dislikes, their firm preferences, and their sources of anger.

Data collection relies on capturing those quicksilver changes. If you get banned from a site you’re looking to scrape data from — no matter how briefly — you interrupt the crucial flow of data.

Residential proxies, as mentioned, are less likely to be banned than data center proxies since they come from a real geographic location. Most sites can’t risk blocking a possible human user, so they will err on the side of caution.

Residential proxies trump data center ones when it comes to reliability, security, quality, and speed.

Adding proxy rotation to the mix gives you excellent coverage and increases your chances of not being found at all.

Buy a collection of rotating residential proxies from Rayobyte and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ll be able to collect quality data without interruption.

Using Python to do this makes your life even easier — you can use readymade Python libraries to handle complex tasks for you and integrate programs like Proxy Pilot into your routine to constantly check the progress of your web scraping.

If you’re looking for a partner to help you buy the best rotating residential proxies using Python and give you the support you need to find the data that can supercharge your business, look no further than Rayobyte. Rayobyte is here to help you make the complex task of web scraping simple and the task of web scraping profitable.

The information contained within this article, including information posted by official staff, guest-submitted material, message board postings, or other third-party material is presented solely for the purposes of education and furtherance of the knowledge of the reader. All trademarks used in this publication are hereby acknowledged as the property of their respective owners.

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